From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

I’ve read quite a bit in the last few days about the Geneva Accords, the recent European-sponsored secret, unofficial negotiations led by Israeli and Palestinian figures, none of whom appear to have any official status within their respective governments. The main Israeli representative, Yossi Beilin, was voted out of office; his Palestinian counterpart, Yasir Abed Rabbo, a former head of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information, is retired. Other Israeli figures involved had been similarly rejected for public office, while their Palestinian counterparts included members of such dubious groups as Fatah and Tanzim. Rabbo, the leading Palestinian figure, was himself a founding member (in 1968) of the terrorist group the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a gang of so-called Marxist freedom fighters whose subsequent activities included massacring over twenty Israeli school children (in a 1974 terrorist attack at Ma’alot) and planting bombs on Israeli buses. To his credit, Rabbo broke with the group, albeit 23 years later. Be that as it may, the plan was signed to much fanfare (and predictable Israel bashing) in Geneva, and despite (or perhaps in spite of) its unofficial, nonbinding status it has elicited much discussion, especially in Israel, where the text of the 47-page document was mailed to two million homes.

Much of the commentary, both for and against the agreement, struck me as a bit frivolous, and perhaps the most trenchant comments were those of the Daily Show’s John Stewart, especially his concluding remark that “As long as phony statesmen get together to negotiate pretend agreements, this fake news show will be there to cover it.” Ouch.

To be sure, some of the commentary was indeed well reasoned and rational, and I would like to read David Grossman’s introduction to the agreement, as his commentary is always thoughtful and exceptionally honest (although I don’t always agree with him). This article, by Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren, lays out a fairly devastating critique of the accords, as does this public statement against “the so-called Geneva Accord,” sponsored by a group of so-called intellectuals and political “activists,” many of whom are associated with the Stalinist group ANSWER. The original sponsors of the latter document include Elias Rashmawi, of the National Steering Committee of International ANSWER; and Zahi Damuni, co-founder of Al-Awda. Signatories of the statement include Columbia University’s Joseph Massad, whose petulant rants about the racist settler racist Apartheid racist colony racist Jewish (and did I mention racist, racist, and racist?) racist state known as Israel, for all the ocular rotational injuries such rants surely cause, might as well have been written by the Eyeball Rolling Injuries Medical Association or the Over-Stressed Gag Reflex Rehabilitation Center.

The former article, regardless of whether one agrees with the authors’ opinions, is rational and factual. The latter, predictably enough, is a tendentious screed filled with inanities, half-truths, misrepresentations, and out-and-out lies. Indeed, among other Orwellian inanities included in “The Reality of the ‘Geneva Accord’” is the stunning revelation that "West Jerusalem" (in quotes, of course) was conquered and ethnically cleansed in 1948. One can only imagine how the authors would describe the contemporaneous developments on the other side of Jerusalem. To call such gibberish revisionist, Orwellian garbage would be an insult to revisionist, Orwellian garbage. Anyone who subscribes to such drivel, especially someone who fancies himself an academic or an intellectual, makes himself frightfully difficult, if not impossible, to be take seriously in such proclaimed fields of endeavor.

I notice that the statement has been included on the webpage for the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). This comes as little surprise, of course, as the IAP is a group whose primary function appears to be be disseminating the most vile and bilious rhetoric concerning Jews and Israel. To cite but a few examples, their webpage (so vomitous in its contempt for all things factual that I shall refrain from further staining The Blue Octavo Notebooks with another link to it) includes all the usual mind-numbing garbage about Jews and Khazars and Semites; Israel and Zionism being “anti-Semitic”; Israel being a Neo-Nazi state; Zionists being “God’s Lying People”; that “the Zionists have been trying to destroy Masjid al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock for the last 50 years by digging underground tunnels beneath the sites to weaken its foundation causing it to collapse”; and so on and so forth, ad nauseam, ad Zonam Crepusculi, et cetera. And these are just a few random samplings of the disgusting, hateful garbage with which the IAP pollutes the world. The IAP’s website even includes a non-existent interview between Ariel Sharon and Amos Oz. Oz has never interviewed Sharon, of course, not that such facts, or any facts, are of any importance to the likes of the IAP.

Update: It’s been a week since Arab News published Tariq A. Al-Maeena’s article “No Season for Thanks,” about a nine-year-old Palestinian boy being shot in the head by the Israeli army on the day before Thanksgiving (see previous TBON entries). Although Arab News published several fawning letters in response to Al-Maeena’s gripping screed, they didn’t see fit to publish any letters (mine, for example), much less a retraction, that pointed out that the incident detailed in the article never happened. As has been pointed out, the boy was shot in the head not by Israeli troops but by his own brother. Nor, of course, did the author deign to respond to an email asking him about the fictional incident upon which he based his article. But who needs facts when we’ve got Arab News? In the meantime, of course, Arab News has seen fit to print letters such as that from Chris Lauren (12.18), who points out that not only is Israel a “terrorist nation” but that the problem “seems to be that most of the media in the US is either owned or controlled by Jews, therefore we only get Israeli version of the story.”

Well, repeat a Big Lie enough times, as they say, whether it’s about a boy being shot in the head by Israel (on the day before Thanksgiving, no less!) or Jews controlling the American media (or most of it), and Arab News, published by our allies the Saudis, is sure to print it.

Update: MEMRI has linked to the same Arab News article that was discussed in The Blue Octavo Notebooks on Thursday. Reading such sentiments (minus the drivel about Hitler and Nero) in the Saudi media is refreshing, of course, but so is breathing fresh air.

Update: According to an email I received from one of the original endorsers of the above public statement opposing the Geneva Accord, it has now garnered over a thousand endorsements. But I notice the signers include Mona Baker, of St. Jerome Publishing Ltd, who last year dismissed two scholars from an “academic” journal she publishes because they were Israeli. Ah, dismiss people simply because they’re from France or Pakistan or Botswana, and you get labeled (quite rightly) a prejudiced jerk, and worse; but if you dismiss them simply because they’re from Israel, well, then you’re simply being politically chic and fightin’ the power, dawg. Quite frankly, I’d be embarrassed to have my mind on any petition with her name on it, but I guess there’s no accounting for taste. Other signatories include Yoav Bar, a computer programmer from somewhere called “Haifa, Palestine” (eh?); and at least one “Ripublican Committeeman.” Ho hum.

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